What is the Lunar New Year?

By Geneve Lau

 

 

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most important holiday in Chinese culture. Citizens get the day (or days) off work and celebrate at home with their families, bringing in the joyous prosperities of the new year.

The holiday falls on a different day each year, as the calendar aligns with the phases of the moon. However, it is most often in February.

2018 is the Year of the Dog. Each year is attributed to an animal of the zodiac, with a total of twelve animals. Those who are born in the Year of the Dog are conservative and just. They are loyal and value family.

One interesting element to note about the Chinese zodiac is that because the New Year begins in February most of the time, those born in January are actually attributed with the zodiac animal of the previous year!

One of the most recognizable symbols of the Lunar New Year is the red envelope. Often embossed with images and gold characters of wealth, prosperity, and health, they are filled with money and given to children from parents and other elders.

It is also common for Chinese families to do a complete cleaning of the house a few days before the New Year. Decorations like cut paper and lanterns are also hung around the home to welcome the New Year.

 

 

The most important part of the Chinese New Year, however, is the dinner on New Year’s Eve! Dumplings and fish are the two most popular dishes served. They are symbols of prosperity.

Boston University’s Chinese Language Program, Study Abroad Office, and the Chinese Students Association put on a New Year Gala on Thursday, February 22nd. There were performances, calligraphy tutorials, and karaoke. For those who did not know much about the origins of Chinese New Year, the event was a culturally enriching experience.